Consulting Firm McKinsey Agrees To Pay $78 Million In Settlement For Role In Opioid Crisis

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Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. agreed to pay $78 million in a settlement with insurers and health care companies for its alleged role in the opioid crisis Friday, reported Associated Press (AP News).

Insurers argued that McKinsey worked as a consultant for Purdue Pharma to create an “aggressive” sales and marketing strategy for OxyContin and other highly addictive drugs, reported AP News. These strategies reportedly were meant to “overcome doctors’ reservations” even as the opioid crisis materialized.

This is the latest settlement with McKinsey and insurers, with the management consulting firm paying millions of dollars over the years to states, school districts, and local governments for its alleged work in the targeted advertisement of opioids despite the growing crisis. One of the latest settlements was reportedly $573 million paid to 47 states and the District of Columbia.

McKinsey & Co. wrote a statement in September in response to the settlement, saying “we continue to believe that our past work was lawful and deny allegations to the contrary, and the settlement contains no admission of liability or wrongdoing.” They also reaffirmed their commitment to not advise any clients on any “opioid-related business.”

Since 1991, over 600,000 people reportedly have died from an overdose from any opioid, lending to a growing distrust of the pharmaceutical industry. (RELATED: GOP Presidential Candidates Campaigning In Opioid-Ravaged State Took Cash From Drug Makers That Paid Out Huge Settlements)

Purdue Pharma, the creator of OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy in 2019 after a vast number of lawsuits regarding the marketing strategies for the highly addictive drug. The bankruptcy settlement is reportedly unprecedented and involves the Sackler family giving $6 billion to address the opioid crisis but would be shielded from future lawsuits. Its legality and implications are still being debated.

The popular Hulu series “Dopesick” chronicles the rise of the opioid crisis and the role played by Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family.